Heraldic Signs and Shields

Heraldic Signs and Shields

They can also be made for individuals who may have a family coat of arms or just make one up for a house sign. Examples of our work are available all over Brighton & Sussex.

Heraldry & its Application Signs & Signwriting

An understanding of heraldry is very advantageous to signwriters or signpainters who want to broaden their knowledge & offer this kind of work. A basic appreciation is all the signwriter needs to carry out most heraldic work that will come their way.

Heraldry is the correct painting of armorial bearings in the specific colours  & placement of its component parts that adhere to the very strict rules of heraldry set out by the College of Arms.

The most difficult part is understanding the terminology i.e. a shield is called an escutcheon; the background is the field & a narrow band a barrulet & so on. If we start with the shield bearing its symbols or charges on a field whose shape maybe determined by the painter. The left side of the field is the dexter & the right side is the sinister side, resting on the charges is a helmet with a wreath holding a crest & draped from this is the mantling. The supporters are on either side & are usually depicted as beasts. The motto is either above or below the design.

The colours & metals used in heraldry are called tinctures:

Or - gold for metal or colour-yellow.

Argent - silver for metal or colour-white.

Gules - red.

Azure - blue.

Vert - green.

Purpure - purple.

Sable - black.

Ermine & Vair are furs, ermine is represented by little black tails on a white ground, whilst vair are small bell shapes & coloured white & blue.

Colours used for wreath & mantling should echo the main colours of the shield. It is incorrect to place a colour upon colour or metal upon metal, they should appear alternately. Heraldic animals can be designed by the painter & do not need to be slavishly copied from those previously used.

Once you have mastered the language of heraldry it should be possible to complete a rendering purely from a written description of the arms. Drawings should be used for accuracy & traced onto the sign where the colours & tinctures can be carefully placed. The final task is to outline the heraldry in black paint & letter any mottos for the arms.

Signs for pubs can often be heraldic & displaying a coat of arms. Some are trades like the Butchers Arms or they may refer to the local landed gentry. Many have royal coats of arms like the Kings Arms or Plume of Feathers & the names can date back to the 14th or 15th centuries.

We can repaint an existing heraldic sign or produce a new sign from client supplied artwork or we can design it for you. Heraldic signs can be produced in a combination of paint & gilding or in paint only.

British Inn Signs